Jan 8, 2016
Life Coaching for a Chronically Depressed Cambodian
Location: Manila, Philippines
Surprise from Cambodia
A good friend on holidays from Cambodia visited me in Manila to chillout. It soon became apparent to me she was on anti-depressants. For most of her adult life, she was heavily reliant on medication. Without such, she couldn't function normally. I had an AHA Moment on how she might possibly deal with it. With my offered coaching, support and hand-holding, she agreed to it.
Since I deepened my yoga, pranayama and meditation practice, I began to heal myself instead of taking medication. I refuse to take medication for several reasons:
- with all the exposés about BIG Pharma and their duplicitous methods to make money, my pressing question is: whose interest does the pharmaceutical companies represent? My well-being or their stockholders? My suspicion about the pharmaceuticals is deep and strong.
I'm not approaching her problem purely from logic. I had my bout with depression in 3rd year as a BSBA student at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. I was a walking pharmacy with tons of psycho-therapeutic drugs I had to down daily. This was before Prozak. I was taking Albion, Neurobion, etc. That's what I could remember. Sure, those drugs kept the suicidal panics at bay, but they also made a zombie out of me. I couldn't feel anything - no pain, no joy, no exhilaration, no sadness...nothing. I was just existing with no emotional perception. It was not until I took up boxing at a gym near Central Market in Quiapo that I began to feel improvement which eventually led to my recovery. But it took 6 long months of boxing therapy, making my regular commute from UP to Central Market every weekday after school.
Now, I can smell depression a mile away. It has become too familiar - like a sworn enemy you've come to terms with. Depression is opportunistic. It never goes away for good. When you are vulnerable, it will attempt to take control. However, it is powerless when you are strong. And that's the operative word - being strong!
It occurred to me that between 2 opposing forces, the stronger force invariably wins - that's the law of nature. My friend's depression is clearly stronger than her, thus she has to prop herself with medication. But instead of being reliant on medication - which ultimately ends up in dependence, why not make her strong instead? Stronger than her depression! Then perhaps the depression will go away in utter defeat. So making her strong was the main plan. How?
I could make her strong in a way I know how - make her physically fit, fortify her mental resolve and gradually ween her from her medication. This is an approach I have already taken...not something I just read. It worked for me, and hopefully, it will work for her.
She wasn't in good shape to begin with. But she was open to sweat it out. We would do cardio vascular rope skipping, yoga and pranayama (yogic breathing exercise). This would be followed by meditation to still the mind and clear the clutter. We would do this intensively almost daily.
I'd like to believe we were making progress, but before I could discern any noticeable improvement, she had to go back to Cambodia. Without my program, she got deeper into her medication. I could only get a sense of her well-being online. It was dire.
Even though this approach was not conclusive for her, I already know it works for me. My logic is simple - the stronger force wins, so make the patient/student stronger than the illness. This episode is the genesis for my newfound approach in empowering those who need to feel alive again using their own body's innate ability to heal itself.
Next stop: Tribal Adventures in Coron with Outback Greg
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